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Federal officials work to extradite Jamaican lottery scammers

Scam AlertScam Alert: Federal officials work to extradite Jamaican lottery scammers

Jamaican lottery scammer Sanjay Williams got off a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina, in June 2013, on his way to meet with the people who moved money for him. He was promptly arrested by U.S. law enforcement authorities, convicted in May and sentenced to 20 years in a U.S. prison.

While the arrest on American soil spared authorities from extraditing Williams, rounding up his associate in the wide-ranging operation — and 13 other suspects still believed to be in Jamaica — is proving to be more onerous.

Authorities say Lavrick Willocks and Williams ran sophisticated schemes that bilked more than 70 mostly elderly people in the United States out of more than $5.6 million. He's facing numerous charges in federal court — including conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. The process to extradite Willocks began two years ago, but authorities say he is currently building a third story onto his mansion in Jamaica.

Federal authorities from North Dakota met with Jamaican officials in October to discuss the progress on the extradition process, which can be complicated, according to Clare Hochhalter, the assistant U.S. attorney from North Dakota who is the lead prosecutor.

"We believe Jamaica will be receptive to the requests," Hochhalter said. "Historically, we're told Jamaican defendants have often waived extradition to the U.S."

Jamaican lottery scams have been happening for years, but it's believed that no cases of this magnitude have been prosecuted. The case began when an FBI agent from North Dakota, Frank Gasper, interviewed a Harvey woman who said she was defrauded out of $300,000 after someone called and told her she had won $19 million and a new car, and needed only to pay taxes and fees.

The investigation led authorities to more than 70 victims throughout the country. Those subpoenaed for the Williams trial were from Madison and Pine Ridge, South Dakota, as well as Minnesota, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Utah, South Carolina, Alabama and California.

To bring the Jamaican defendants to court, American officials must provide so-called first person affidavits, which can include only what a witness saw, heard or personally experienced. It can also require multiple affidavits for each defendant.

Federal prosecutors in North Dakota mailed four boxes of affidavits and exhibits for the 14 defendants to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of International Affairs in mid-November. Once that office finishes its review, the information will be passed on to U.S. State Department and then to Jamaican officials.

Hochhalter said he expects "movement by at least some of the defendants" in early 2016.

The 20-year sentence for Williams, who argued repeatedly with the judge and his own lawyer and filed numerous letters complaining about the American judicial system, could lead some of the suspects to fight extradition, Hochhalter said.

The first lottery scam suspect to be extradited was Damion Barrett in January, according to the Jamaica Constabulary Force. A federal judge in Florida sentenced Barrett in June to nearly four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

AP

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6 comments. Last comment 11 months ago by KY Floyd.
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Happy California
United States
Member #157856
August 2, 2014
1520 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 26, 2015, 6:28 pm - IP Logged

 motto: Do not mess with the U.S. Department of Justice. They have long memories and long arms.

 If the DOJ can not get you then they send the U.S. Armed Forces after you.

 I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

 Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

    Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

    United States
    Member #142499
    May 13, 2013
    1183 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 27, 2015, 7:00 pm - IP Logged

     motto: Do not mess with the U.S. Department of Justice. They have long memories and long arms.

     If the DOJ can not get you then they send the U.S. Armed Forces after you.

    How very naive you are. Not to mention puerile. This is the real world not a Michael Bay film. 

    The fact is that every sovereign nation has the right to deny an extradition request, even if it's from the US and the US can't do a thing about it. Just think of all the countries that flat out refused to hand murderers over to the US until the death penalty was taken off the table, and what has the DoJ always done? Taken the death penalty off the table. Because they have no choice. The US justice system cannot and does not supersede the laws of a self-governing and sovereign nation. 

    If countries actually had the authority to invade other nations over white collar crimes, Wall Street would have been bombed 7 years ago and the criminals who scammed billions from taxpayers would be sitting in foreign prisons instead of walking free on US soil. After all, the US isn't the only country with special forces.

    In any case, as long as all the evidence is there I can't see any reason why these scammers wouldn't be handed over unless Jamaica chooses to charge and try them there, in which case the US can't do a thing about it. 

    As I said, this is the real world. And even if this were a Hollywood action flick, it's not like Liam Neeson's daughter is being held captive on an Ocho Rios beach. It's a lottery scam.

    I might wake up early and go running.  I might also wake up and win the lottery.

    The odds are about the same.

      Bondi Junction
      Australia
      Member #57242
      December 24, 2007
      1102 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 30, 2015, 7:14 am - IP Logged

      Jamaican lottery scammer Sanjay Williams got off a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina, in June 2013, on his way to meet with the people who moved money for him. He was promptly arrested by U.S. law enforcement authorities, convicted in May and sentenced to 20 years in a U.S. prison.

      While the arrest on American soil spared authorities from extraditing Williams, rounding up his associate in the wide-ranging operation — and 13 other suspects still believed to be in Jamaica — is proving to be more onerous.

      Authorities say Lavrick Willocks and Williams ran sophisticated schemes that bilked more than 70 mostly elderly people in the United States out of more than $5.6 million. He's facing numerous charges in federal court — including conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. The process to extradite Willocks began two years ago, but authorities say he is currently building a third story onto his mansion in Jamaica.

      Federal authorities from North Dakota met with Jamaican officials in October to discuss the progress on the extradition process, which can be complicated, according to Clare Hochhalter, the assistant U.S. attorney from North Dakota who is the lead prosecutor.

      "We believe Jamaica will be receptive to the requests," Hochhalter said. "Historically, we're told Jamaican defendants have often waived extradition to the U.S."

      Jamaican lottery scams have been happening for years, but it's believed that no cases of this magnitude have been prosecuted. The case began when an FBI agent from North Dakota, Frank Gasper, interviewed a Harvey woman who said she was defrauded out of $300,000 after someone called and told her she had won $19 million and a new car, and needed only to pay taxes and fees.

      The investigation led authorities to more than 70 victims throughout the country. Those subpoenaed for the Williams trial were from Madison and Pine Ridge, South Dakota, as well as Minnesota, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Utah, South Carolina, Alabama and California.

      To bring the Jamaican defendants to court, American officials must provide so-called first person affidavits, which can include only what a witness saw, heard or personally experienced. It can also require multiple affidavits for each defendant.

      Federal prosecutors in North Dakota mailed four boxes of affidavits and exhibits for the 14 defendants to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of International Affairs in mid-November. Once that office finishes its review, the information will be passed on to U.S. State Department and then to Jamaican officials.

      Hochhalter said he expects "movement by at least some of the defendants" in early 2016.

      The 20-year sentence for Williams, who argued repeatedly with the judge and his own lawyer and filed numerous letters complaining about the American judicial system, could lead some of the suspects to fight extradition, Hochhalter said.

      The first lottery scam suspect to be extradited was Damion Barrett in January, according to the Jamaica Constabulary Force. A federal judge in Florida sentenced Barrett in June to nearly four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

      One of the best way to stop such scams is to replace them with legal options. While some will always fall for scams, if it is easier for people to participate in transparent lotteries, we are much less lightly to be taken in by scams.
      If we were able to play state lotteries by subscription online without laws, state or federal, getting in the way, scams would be far less successful.

      We all get a lot out of lotteries!

        Avatar
        Simpsonville
        United States
        Member #163189
        January 22, 2015
        674 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 31, 2015, 6:44 am - IP Logged
        One of the best way to stop such scams is to replace them with legal options. While some will always fall for scams, if it is easier for people to participate in transparent lotteries, we are much less lightly to be taken in by scams.
        If we were able to play state lotteries by subscription online without laws, state or federal, getting in the way, scams would be far less successful.

        Your last sentence is what I've been harping on for years...let anyone play subscriptions to any state that offers them...there aren't that many that do.  As for me, still waiting for my Mass. Brother to mail me my Powerball subscription.  The sale ends 2 JAN 16 and you get seven weeks free.  No other state comes close to that deal, no wonder Massachusetts lottery is so successful.

          Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

          United States
          Member #142499
          May 13, 2013
          1183 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 31, 2015, 9:38 am - IP Logged
          One of the best way to stop such scams is to replace them with legal options. While some will always fall for scams, if it is easier for people to participate in transparent lotteries, we are much less lightly to be taken in by scams.
          If we were able to play state lotteries by subscription online without laws, state or federal, getting in the way, scams would be far less successful.

          I'm not seeing how any all access subscription service would prevent this scam from happening. The people who fall for the Jamaican lottery scam don't have an access issue, they have a greed and/or stupidity issue. 

          Someone calls them up and says they've won a lottery in Jamaica (even though most of these people have never even left the US much less gone to Jamaica). Then they're told that in order for them to collect their winnings, they most first pay the taxes owed on it. After the first payment has been sent, there are more and more reasons as to why more money is needed to get the jackpot released to them. This goes on for weeks to months. 

          A subscription isn't going to help to stop those scams, it's successful in every state for a reason. On an aside, I can't think of anything more terrifying than an online US lottery system without laws. Talk about a scam haven.

          I might wake up early and go running.  I might also wake up and win the lottery.

          The odds are about the same.

            Avatar
            NY
            United States
            Member #23835
            October 16, 2005
            3474 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 31, 2015, 1:06 pm - IP Logged
            One of the best way to stop such scams is to replace them with legal options. While some will always fall for scams, if it is easier for people to participate in transparent lotteries, we are much less lightly to be taken in by scams.
            If we were able to play state lotteries by subscription online without laws, state or federal, getting in the way, scams would be far less successful.

            Sorry, but that's one of the most ridiculous ideas I've heard in a long time. The scam works because people are being offered a lot of money and they want that money. It's that simple.

            As near as I can figure there are two ways to keep the scam from working. One is to educate everybody, so they'll realize it's a scam. The other is to make everybody stop wanting easy money. What I can't figure out is a way to make either of those happen.